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Richard Sibbes :: The Fourth Sermon - Isaiah 25:7-8

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THE GLORIOUS FEAST OF THE GOSPEL
The Marriage Feast
Between
Christ and His Church

 


The Fourth Sermon — Isaiah 25:7-8

 

I will destroy in this Mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all Nations. He will swallow up death in victory

We have heretofore at large spoken of the spiritual and eternal favors of God, let out in the former verse, In this Mountain will the LORD of Hosts make a Feast of fat things. While our soul is in the body it is much guided by our fancy, spiritual things are therefore presented by outward and conveyed to the soul that way. Only we must remember that there is a far greater excellency in the things themselves, than in their representation, for what is all banquets, fatness with marrow, wine on the lees, to the joy and sweetness of religion begun here and accomplished in the world to come.

 

In Christ there is nothing but all marrow, and sweetness in religion that may refresh a man in the lowest condition, if he can but have a taste of it.

 

Now because the spiritual things of Christ do us no good, as long as they are hid, therefore the Holy Ghost sets down a promise That God will take away the covering cast on all people, and the veil spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7).

 

But there be some things that will dampen all mirth. Now here is security against them that our joy may be complete and this in the next verse to which I now come. He will swallow up death in victory, he will wipe away tears from all faces (Isaiah 25:8). The Prophet having spoken of a great Feast before, an excellent Feast, sets forth here the services of that Feast, what is it that accompanies it.

 

First of all there shall be light to discover the excellency of the Feast, the veil is taken away and a knowledge given to know divine things in a spiritual manner.

 

Then (which will damp all feasts) the fear of death is taken away; He will swallow up death in victory, and wipe away all tears, that is all sorrow, the effect is put for the cause. This is an excellent promise, an excellent service in this spiritual banquet. Suppose a man were set at a Feast furnished with all delicates, royalty attended, clothes suitable and had a sword hung over his head ready to fall upon him, it would call such a damp on his spirit, as would spoil the joy of this Feast. So to hear of spiritual excellencies and yet death, and hell, and damnation coming along, alas where is the comfort you speak of? And therefore to make the Feast more perfect, there is not only light and knowledge, but removal of it whatever may damp the Feast. So this must needs come in to comfort all the rest; He shall swallow up death in victory, and wipe away tears from all faces. Death is here represented to us under the word victory, as a combatant, as one that we are to fight withall, a Captain.

 

And then here is the victory of him, Christ overcomes him, and overcomes him gloriously. It is not only a conquest, but a swallowing of him up. Usually God uses all sorts of enemies in their own kind. He causes them that spoil, to be spoiled; them that swallow up, to be swallowed up. So Death, the great swallower, shall be swallowed up.

Death is the great king of kings; Death spares none

 

Beloved, Death is the great king of kings, and the emperor of emperors, the great captain, and ruling king of the world. For no king hath such dominion as Death hath; it spreads its government and victory over all nations. He is equal, though a tyrant. As a tyrant spares none, he is equal in this, he subdues young and old, poor and rich. He levels scepters and spades together, he levels all. There is no difference between the dust of an emperor and the meanest man, he is a tyrant that governs over all. And so there is this equity in him, he spares none.

Death hath continued from the beginning, let in by sin

 

He hath continued from the beginning of the world to this time; but he is a Tyrant brought in by ourselves (Romans 5:12). Sin let in Death, it opened the door; death is no creature of God’s making. Satan brought in sin and sin brought in death; so that we be accessory ourselves to the powerful stroke of this prevailing Tyrant. And therefore sin is called the cause of death.

Sin arms death; Hell the attendant of death

 

Sin brought in death and arms death; the weapon that death fights with and causes great terror, it is sin. The cause is armed with the power of the wrath of God for sin, the fear of hell and damnation; so that wrath, and hell, and damnation, arming sin, it brings a sting of itself and outs a venom into death. All cares, and fears, and sorrows, and sicknesses are less and petty deaths, harbingers to death itself. But the attendants that follow this great king are worst of all, as (Revelation 6:8) I saw, a pale horse, and death upon it, and after him comes hell. What were death, if it were not for the Pit and Dungeon that follows it? So that death is attended with hell, and hell with eternity. Therefore here is a strange kind of preveiling. There is no victory where there is no enemy, and therefore death must needs be an enemy, yea it is the worst enemy, and the last enemy. Death is not planted in the forborne hope, but it is planted at last for the greatest advantage, and is a great enemy. What doth death? It deprives us of all comfort, pleasure, communion with one another in this life, callings, or whatsoever else is comfortable. The grave is the house of oblivion. “Death is terrible of itself, even to nature,” as Augustine saith, “where it is not swallowed up of Christ.” For it is an evil in itself, and as I said, armed with a sting of sin after which follows Hell.

 

Now this death is swallowed up. When the Scripture puts a person upon death, it is not uncomely for us to speak as the Scripture doth. The Scripture puts a person upon death, and a kind of triumphing Spirit in God’s children over death. O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55).

 

Death is the greatest swallower and yet it is swallowed up by Christ; death hath swallowed up all, and when it hath swallowed up, it keeps them. It keeps the dust of kings, subjects great and small, to the general day of judgment, when death shall be swallowed up of itself. It is therefore of the nature of those that Solomon speaks of that cry, give, give, and yet is never satisfied (Proverbs 30:15), like the grave; yet this death is swallowed up in victory.

Christ swallows up death in victory for himself and his; because he hath satisfied for sin

 

But how cometh death to be swallowed up? Christ will swallow up death in victory, for himself and his. First of all, because sin brought in death, our Saviour Christ became sin, a sacrifice to his Father’s justice for sin. He was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), he was made a curse for us, to take away the curse due to us. And sin being taken away, what hath death to do with us, and hell, and damnation, the attendants on death? Nothing at all. Therefore (Colossians 2:13-14) upon the cross Christ did nail the law, and sin and the devil; there he reigned over principalities and powers, which were but executioners let loose by reason of our sins. And God being satisfied for sin, the devil hath nothing to do with us, but to exercise us, except it be for our good. So that he hath swallowed up death because by his death he hath taken away sin and so the power of Satan, whose power is by sin. And therefore it is excellently set down (Hebrews 2:14). He also took part of flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. So Christ by death overthrew Satan, that had the power of death; because by death he took away sin, the sins of all, and bare our sins upon the cross, and was made sin for us that knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He is ours, if we believe; for then Christ is given to a particular man when he believes. Beloved, Christ upon the cross did triumph over all our spiritual enemies, sin and death, and all. It was a kingdom of patience.

A double kingdom of Christ; A kingdom of patience, A kingdom of power

 

You know there is a double kingdom of Christ; a kingdom of patience, and a kingdom of power. Christ on the cross suffering punishment due to sin overcame the law, and the devil, and sin which is the kingdom of patience; the kingdom of power he hath in heaven. If Christ were so able in his kingdom of patience to conquer our greatest enemies, what will he do in his kingdom of power? As Paul reasons (Romans 5:10), If by his death we are saved, much more now he triumphs in heaven, and appears for us, is he able to convey greater matters to us.

Christ conquers for us and in us

 

If Christ in the days of his flesh did conquer, how glorious will his conquest be at the day of judgment. Now Christ hath conquered all in his own person as our head, then he will conquer for us in his mystical body; what is now done in his person, shall be done in his members. In the meantime, faith is our victory, his conquest over death our victory, his victory over all our spiritual enemies is our victory. Everyone that believes is a conqueror of death, though he die, because he sees it conquered in Christ his head, and as it is truly conquered in him, so Christ will conquer it in all his members.

 

For as Christ in his natural body is gone to heaven there to appear in our behalf, so shall mystical Christ be wholly in glory. He will not leave a finger, we shall all triumph over all our spiritual enemies; as Christ’s natural body is glorious in heaven, as our head, so shall also his mystical body be.

 

You see then how death is swallowed up by Christ as our surety, as the second Adam upon the cross; and truly swallowed up in him. And by faith this victory is ours, and time will come when in our own persons it shall be swallowed up in victory.

 

This might be enlarged, but I haste to make use of it.

Death was conquered by Christ when he had given way to be under the power of it

 

Mark I beseech you how death is swallowed up by Christ in his own person for our good, he gave a great way to death, for death seized on him upon the cross, death severs soul from body, death had him in his own cabinet, his grave for three days. Nay this great King and tyrant death, had a great conquest over Christ himself. But here was the glory of this victory: when death this great conqueror of the world had Christ upon the cross, and in his own dominion in the grave, where he rules and reigns, consuming and swallowing up all, death was fain to give up all, and Satan thought to have had a great morsel when he devoured Christ. But there was a hook in his divine power that catched him, that when he thought to have swallowed up Christ, he was swallowed up himself, his head was then broken. He never had such a blow as by Christ on the cross, when he was overcome being a scorn of the world visibly, yet invisibly in God’s acceptation of that sacrifice, and in a spirit of faith. Christ triumphs over Satan, death was subdued even in his own kingdom and that makes the victory great.

 

Death by seizing on Christ without right, Christ hath freed us from the evil of death when it had right to as Death hath lost all its right by fattening on Christ, and so is become as a drone without a sting. So the great swallower of all is swallowed up itself at last by Christ.

First we see God gives way to his enemies for a time when he will give glorious victory

 

Now for comfortable use of it. First, let us consider that God oftentimes gives a great deal of way to his greatest enemies. God uses a stratagem of retiring. He seems to retire and give liberty to his enemies, but it is to triumph and trample upon them with greater shame, he will tread them to dust afterward. Christ gave death a great deal of liberty, he was crucified and tormented, then had to the grave, and there he lay. And this was to raise a greater triumph over this great prevailer, over the world and death itself.

 

It is continued so in the Church. Doth not he give way to the enemies of the Church, they may come to say, “Ahah, ahah, so would we have it. Now the poor children of God are where we would have them; but then comes sudden destruction” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). God to make his victory more glorious and more to discover their cruelty, comes upon them when they be in the top of pleasure and the Church in the bottom of abasement; then God swallows up all in victory, as Christ did death when it seemed to have been itself victorious.

 

This is a very comfortable consideration, for if death be overcome when it seemed to overcome Christ, what need we fear any other enemy? Christ hath broken the net as an eagle or great bird, and the rest escape by him.

Death is already swallowed up to faith

 

You may enlarge this in your own meditations: he will swallow up death in victory. This is said for the time to come, he will swallow up death; but Paul saith it is also past, and swallowed up already. Faith saith it is done, and so it is in our head. Were it not comfortable now to all true hearted Christians, to hear that the Church fares better, and that the enemies were swallowed up, for they be but the instruments of this inferior death. Let us get the Spirit of faith and see them all conquered, certainly they shall have the worst at last. He that hath swallowed up death in victory, will swallow up all that be the cause of death. And therefore the Scripture speaks of these things as past, Babylon is fallen, as a millstone cast into the bottom of the Sea (Revelation 18:21).

 

Get a spirit of faith and we shall never be much troubled with Babylon; for all the enemies of Christ, and adherents to that man of sin must down, and partake of the judgment threatened in the Revelations. Heaven hath concluded it, and all the policy of Rome and hell cannot disannul it. They be already swallowed up to faith, and Christ will rule till he hath put them all under his feet; which shall be done not only to destroy them, but to raise himself higher, in giving them up to their confusion.

Labour to be one with Christ crucified

 

Again, if death be swallowed up in victory, labour to be one with Christ crucified for union with him, begin with union with Christ. The first union is with Christ abased, and then with Christ glorified. And therefore labour to see sin that brought in death, subdued by the power of Christ’s death in some measure, and then we shall have comfort in his death glorified. For in my holy mount death is swallowed up, that is, the true Church of Christ. Labour to be members of Christ, otherwise death will come as a tyrant indeed, armed with a terrible sting, in his full force to assail you. It is the most terrible thing to see death come armed with the wrath and anger of God, and attended with hell and damnation. Labour therefore to be one with Christ crucified, to get our sins crucified, and ourselves partakers of his death; and then no damnation, no fear of death to them that are in Christ. They may die, but they are freed from eternal death and they shall rise again even as Christ’s body rose to glory.

 

Get therefore into Christ and desire the power of his death subduing sin. In what measure we grow in that, we grow in boldness and joy, and whatsoever privileges follow Christ.

Be thankful to God for this victory in Christ

 

Again, when we be in Christ true members of him, then let us be thankful to God for this victory, thankful to Jesus Christ that hath given us victory. When we think of death, of sin, of judgment, of hell, of damnation, let us be framed as a Christian should.

 

Now let him (that hath the most terrible and fearful things in the world as conquered enemies) say, “O blessed be God for Christ, and blessed be Christ for dying for us, and by death disarming, death of his sting; that now we can think of it in our judgments quietly. Now we can think of all these as conquered enemies.” This is the fruit of Christ’s death, they are not only enemies, but friends in Christ. Sin the remainder of it, the guilt of it that binds over to damnation is taken away, the remainders of it serve to humble us, make us feel the power of pardon, and to desire another world where we shall be all spiritual, so that death is a part of our jointure.

The benefits of death to a person that is in Christ

 

All things are yours, life and death; death doth us many excellent services. It is a door and passage to life. Death is the death of itself, destroys itself. We never truly live till we die, and when we die, we are past fear of death. So that sin dies, misery dies, death dies; though it takes us from comforts and employments, and friends here, yet it is a change to a better place, and better company, and better employments, and better condition, to be in a glorious condition to eternity. And therefore we have cause to bless God in Christ that took our nature, and in our nature disarmed our greatest enemy, sin and so disarmed death, and freed us from the wrath of God, and hell and damnation. O, we can never be thankful enough for this.

Let those that are in Christ be ashamed of the fear of death

 

Again, if death be swallowed up in victory, let us be ashamed of the fear of death because Christ saith he will swallow him up, as he hath already in his own person. Shall we be afraid of an enemy that is swallowed up in our head, and shall be swallowed up in every one of us? If we cherish fear, we show we look not for an interest in this promise; for it is a promise, that in this holy mountain death shall be swallowed up in victory, and why should we fear a conquered enemy, none will fear an enemy that is conquered.

 

But how came Christ to fear death, and we not to fear?

 

Answer: Christ had to deal with death armed with a terrible thing, with sin and the wrath of God for sin and therefore when he was to die, Father let this cup pass from me (Matthew 26:39). But death is disarmed to us; He had to encounter sin and the wrath of God, and death in all its strength. But we are not so, we are to deal with death like the brazen Serpent that hath the shape of death, but no sting at all. It has become a drone ever since it lost its sting in Christ. Life took death that death might take life (2 Corinthians 4:11-12) as he said. The meaning is, Christ’s life itself took death that we that were so subject to death, that we were death itself might take life. O blessed consideration, nothing comparable to the consideration of the death of Christ, it is the death of deaths.

 

And then again we are sure of victory, it is conquered in our Head, and shall be in us. But you say we are to conflict with the pangs of death, and many troubles meet in death. It is true, but it is conquered to faith and in Christ our Head, we must fight. Christ trains us to overcome death ourselves by faith and then we are sure of victory. Join these two together, it is conquered in Christ our Head, and shall be conquered of us; death keeps our dust and must give them all again.

 

But in the meantime we die.

 

Answer: ‘Tis so, but we are sure of victory. He will protect us in our combat that hath conquered for us. We fight against death and the terror of it, in the strength and faith of his victory; join these three together.

 

He that hath been our Saviour in life, will be so to death and not exclusively, then to leave us but to death, and in death forever, yea most ready to help us in our fast conflict.

Death is terrible to the wicked

 

Indeed to wicked men death is terrible, for he sends the devil to fetch them out of the world; but for these that be his, he sends his angels to fetch them and he helps them in their combat. We must not therefore fear overmuch. There is a natural fear of death, death wrought upon Christ himself God-man; not only death, but such a death, he was to be left of his Father and lie under the sense of the wrath of God. The separation of that soul from the body he took upon him was terrible; and therefore he saith, If it be possible let this cup pass from me (Matthew 26:39). That was nature and without it he had not been true man. But that I say, is that grace may be above nature. Death is a time of darkness, it strips us of earthly comforts, friends, callings, employments; but then comes the eye of faith to lay hold on the victory of Christ in time to come, when death shall be only swallowed up in victory, and then the glorious state to come, to which death brings us, so that here faith must be above sense and grace above nature. And therefore I beseech you let us labour for it.

 

There be two sorts of men to whom I would speak a little.

They are fools that in a carnal bravery condemn death before disarmed in Christ

 

First, those that in a kind of bravery seem to slight death; men of base spirits as we call them, fools, vain-glorious spirits, empty spirits. Is there any creature unless in Christ, able groundedly to slight so great an enemy as death, armed with a sting of sin and attended with hell and damnation? The Romish and devilish spirits are terrible; but if thy sins be not pardoned, it is the most terrible thing in the world to die, for there is a gulf afterwards. What shall we say then of single combatants that for vain-glory are prodigal of their lives, that for a foul word, a little disgrace, will venture on this enemy that is armed with sin and if they die, they die in sin. And which is the miserable condition of him that dies in sin, his death opens the gate to another death which is eternal. They say they have repented, but there is no repentance of a sin to be committed. Canst thou repent of a sin before it be committed? That is but a mockery of God. And what saith the Scripture? Is it not the most terrible judgment under heaven to die in our sins? A man that dies in sin dies in hell, he goes from death to hell and that eternal.

 

I wonder therefore that the wisdom of flesh and blood should take away men’s wit, and faith, and grace, and all, so much as to slight death and repentance, as if it were so easy. Now beloved, death is a terrible thing, it hath a sting and thou shalt know it if thou hast not grace to feel the sting of it whilst thou livest.

 

When thou diest the sting will revive, then thy conscience shall awake in hell. Drunkenness and jollity takes away sense of sin, but sin will revive and conscience will revive. God hath not put it into us for naught. Death is terrible, if not disarmed beforehand. And if thou go about to die without disarming it before, it will not be out-faced. It is not an enemy to be scorned and slighted. And therefore be Christians in good earnest, else leave profession and perish eternally. For we must all die and it is a greater matter than we take it. But if we be true Christians, it is the sweetest thing in the world, an end of all misery, a beginning of true happiness, an inlet to whatsoever is comfortable. Blessed are they that are in the Lord by faith, and them that die in the Lord, their death is better than the day of life. Our birthday brings us into misery, and therefore let me speak to true Christians and bid them be ashamed of fearing death too much, which of an enemy is become a reconciled friend.

Of consolation to those that are in Christ; death is not only subdued, but made a friend

 

This may in the next place yield great consolation to those that are in Christ Jesus, that death by Christ is swallowed up in victory; and the rather because the Holy Ghost means more than a bare victory over death. Death is not only subdued, but is made a friend to us. As in Psalm 110 it is said his enemies shall be his footstool (Psalm 110:1). Now a footstool is not only trampled upon, but a help to rise. And so death is not only subdued, but it advances God’s children, and raises them higher. It is not only an enemy, but a reconciled friend, for he doth that which no friend in the world can do. It ends all our misery and is the inlet into all happiness for eternity. And whatsoever it strips us of here, it gives us advantage of better in another world. It cuts off our pleasures, and profits, and company, and callings here; but what is that to our blessed change afterward, to our praising of God forever, to the company of blessed souls, and the profits, and pleasures at the right hand of God for evermore? And therefore it is not only conquered, but to show the excellency of his power, he hath made it a friend of an enemy, and the best friend in the world. It indeed separates soul from body, but it joins the soul to Christ; so that the conjunction we have by it is better than the separation, if the conjunction makes us partake of our desire. I desire to be dissolved, saith St. Paul, but that is not well translated. I desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is best of all (Philippians 1:23) so that it is not only, not an enemy but a friend. And therefore the Apostle makes it our jointure, part of our portion, all things are yours. Why? You are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. What are ours? things present, things to come, life, death. And well may death be ours because sin is our enemy, that remainder that is kept in our nature to exercise us and humble us, and fit us for grace.

It is profitable for some to fall

 

As Augustine saith, “I dare be bold to say, it is profitable for some to fall, to make them more careful and watchful, and to prize mercy more, so that not only death, but sin and the devil himself is ours; for his plots are for our good. God over-shoots him in his own bow.” He will give them over to Satan, saith the Apostle, that they may learn not to blaspheme; yet though they have a spirit of blasphemy by the humbling of their bodies, they be taught not to blaspheme, so that not only death but sin, and he that brought sin into the world, the devil, are become our friends.

Satan hath advantage by our fearing death

 

This being so, it may be for special comfort that we not fear the King of Fears. The devil hath great advantage by this affection of fear, when it is let upon this object death. Overcome death, and all troubles are overcome; who will fear anything that hath given up himself to God? Skin for skin and all that a man hath will he give for his life. The devil knows that well enough; Therefore fear not, saith Christ, them that can kill the body (Matthew 10:28). Fear causes snares, saith Solomon, snares of conscience. But if a man hath overcome the fear of death once, what more is to be done? What if they take away life, they cannot take away that that is better than life, the favor of God. If we die in the Lord, we die in the favor of God, which is better than life; and we shall be found in the Lord at the day of judgment, and shall be forever with the Lord in heaven. And therefore this is a ground of resolution in good causes, notwithstanding all threats whatsoever because death itself is swallowed up in victory.

The worst the world can do is to take away life, and in that they do the godly a pleasure

 

The worst the world can do is to take away this nature of ours, when they have done that they have done all they can; and when they have done that, they have done a pleasure. “That is not to be feared,” saith Tertullian, “that frees us from all that is to be feared.” What is to be feared in the world?--every sickness, every disgrace. Why, death frees us from all. We do see every day takes away a piece of one’s life, and when death comes it overthrows itself; for the soul goes presently to the place of happiness, the body sleeps awhile and death hath no more power.

 

He, that believes in me, saith Christ, he shall not see death, but is past from death to life (John 11:26). He shall not see spiritual death; but as he lives in Christ, shall die in Christ and rise again in Christ. He that hath the life of grace begun, shall have it consummate without interruption. It’s a point of wonderful comfort that death is so overcome that we be in heaven already. And it is no hard speech, but stands with the truth of other points; for are not Christ and we all one. His body is there and is not he the Head of his mystical body? He that carried his natural body, will not he carry his mystical body thither too? Will he be in piece-meal in heaven? Therefore we are in heaven already the best part of us. We are represented in heaven, for Christ represents us there as the husband doth the wife. He hath taken up heaven for us.

Christ will draw his mystical body to him into heaven

 

“Christ cannot be divided,” as Augustine saith; we sit in heavenly places already with Christ. And what a comfort is this, that while we live we are in heaven, and that death cannot hinder us from our resurrection, which is the restoring of all things. And therefore, as the Apostle saith, Comfort one another with these things (1 Thessalonians 4:18). These things indeed have much comfort in them.

Our comfort by Christ should make us fruitful to Christ

 

Let us labour then to be comfortable, (this use the Apostle makes of it) and fruitful in our places, upon consideration of the victory we have by Christ, (1 Corinthians 15:57). It is an excellent chapter that largely proves Christ’s victory, as the cause of our victory because he is the first fruit that sanctifies all the rest. Finally my bretheren be constant, immoveable, always abound in the work of Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). He raises that exhortation of fruit fullness and constancy, from this very ground of the victory Christ hath gotten by death: O Death where is thy Sting? O Grave where is thy Victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ. And therefore be constant, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). Make that use the Apostle does of fruitfulness to God for Christ, that we can think of death and sin, the devil and all his malice, and not be afraid. Yea think of them all with comfort, that we be not only freed from their tyranny, but they be our friends.

 

Christ hath the key of hell and death, a saying taken from the custom of Governors that carried the key. He hath the government and command of hell and death. Now if Christ hath command of death, he will not suffer death to hurt his members, or triumph always over them, he will keep them in the grave. Our bodies are safe in the grave, the dust is fitted for a heavenly, for another manner of body than we have now, and Christ that hath the key will let them out again. Therefore trust awhile till times of restoring come, and then we shall have a glorious soul and glorious body. As the Apostle saith, I beseech you think of these things and get comfort against the evil day (Philippians 4:8). And to that end, be sure to get into Christ that we may be in Christ, living, and dying, and be found in Christ. For what saith the Scripture, Blessed are they that die in the Lord (Revelation 14:13).

Its better to die in the Lord, than for the Lord

 

It is an argument of blessedness to die for the Lord, but if it be not in the Lord, it is to no purpose. If there is granted this happiness of dying for the Lord, it is well; but blessed are they that die in the Lord. Why? they rest from their labour. Death takes them off from their labours, all their good works go to heaven with them. So saith the Spirit whatsoever the flesh saith, and there is no resting till that time. Their life is full of troubles and combers, and therefore labour to get assurance that we are in Christ, that we be in Christ and die in Christ and then, there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ (Romans 8:1).

Prepare for death by getting into Christ

 

How besotted are we to put away preparation of death till it comes; he that forgets Christ, and getting into Christ all his life time, it is God’s just judgment that he should forget himself in death. We see how a villain that hath no care of his own life, may have power of another man’s life.

 

And therefore labour to be engrafted into Christ by faith and that we may know it by the Spirit of Christ prevailing in us over our natural corruptions more and more. As the Apostle saith, There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ; for the Spirit of life, the Law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ, hath freed me from the law of sin and death, the condemning law of sin (Romans 8:1-2). If the law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ the Head be in us in any measure, it frees us from the condemning law of sin that it carries us not whither it would. Then we may say with comfort, There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, hath freed us from the condemning, tyrannizing law of sin and death.

Sin hath no law in us to rule by

 

Sin hath no law. It is in us as a subdued rebel, but it sets not up a throne. Some hope to be saved by Christ, and yet they set up sin a throne in the soul. Sin bids them defile themselves and they must obey it; this is a woeful estate, how can they expect to die in the Lord but such as are freed by the Law of the Spirit of life? New lords, new laws when kings conquer, they bring fundamental laws; and when we are taken from Satan’s kingdom into the Kingdom of Christ, the fundamental laws are then altered. Christ by his Spirit sets up a law of believing, and praying, and doing good, and abstaining from evil; the Law of the Spirit of life frees us from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

I beseech you, enlarge these things in your thoughts. They be things we must all have use of beforehand, against the evil day. It should be comfortable and useful to us all, to hear that our enemy, our greatest enemy death, is swallowed up in victory. And yet there’s more comfort in the Text.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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